Torres Statement on State Department List of Corrupt Central American Government Officials
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Representative Norma J. Torres (D-CA) released the following statement after Congress received the list of corrupt government officials in Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala required by Section 1287 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2019. The list, which was adopted from the Torres-authored End Corruption in the Northern Triangle Act, was to include elected or government officials who were known to have committed acts related to drug trafficking and corruption. However, the list provided to Congress by the U.S. Secretary of State only included officials who have already been convicted, sentenced, or subject to U.S. sanctions for such acts.
“This list is a sham. It is unbelievable that the State Department was 53 days late on this report and this is what they gave us. If Congress wanted a list of officials who were sentenced or sanctioned, we would have Googled it. We know, and every State Department expert knows, that the United States government has knowledge of many, many corrupt officials in Central America who were not included in the report. By willfully concealing the names of corrupt government officials in Central America, in defiance of Congress’ intent, the Trump administration is engaging in a cover-up.
“This is not the first time this administration has been complicit in Central American corruption. After all, this is the same administration that gave Guatemala’s President the green light to kick out a U.S.-supported anti-corruption commission that was investigating him. It is the same administration that looked the other way while the President of Honduras’ brother and associates allegedly engaged in drug trafficking. And it’s the same administration that has cut off foreign assistance programs for the brave activists and investigative journalists who are fighting against corruption in their home countries. Because of this administration’s complicity, Honduras and Guatemala are well on their way to becoming narco-states.
“This cannot stand. I will do everything in my power to ensure the State Department comes clean with what it knows.”
Torres, the only Central American serving in Congress, is a member of the House Appropriations and Rules Committees. In March, she introduced the Guatemala Rule of Law Accountability Act to authorize travel and financial sanctions against Guatemalan officials who have engaged in corruption, obstructed justice, misused U.S.-provided equipment, disobeyed Guatemalan Constitutional Court rulings, and interfered with the work of the U.S. government.
To view the list provided by the State Department, click here.